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J. Compos. Sci., Volume 6, Issue 5 (May 2022) – 33 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): A new manufacturing process has been developed to produce plastic-based composites using thermally activated materials. This process is termed composite plastic manufacturing (CPM), and is an integration of two material extrusion additive manufacturing technologies, i.e., fused filament fabrication and syringe extrusion (equipped with a heat chamber). Various composites have been manufactured and tested to establish the viability of the new process through comparative experimental analysis, involving ultrasonic, tensile, microstructural, and hardness tests. The parts manufactured by CPM showed superior mechanical properties compared to commercially available filament materials (PLA and graphene-enhanced PLA) in the range of 10.4 to 29.8% for tensile strength and 8% to 24.6% for hardness. View this paper
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Article
Effect of Clay’s Multilayer Composites Material on the Energy Efficiency of Buildings
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 151; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050151 - 23 May 2022
Viewed by 501
Abstract
Climate change and resource and energy depletion are already impacting ecosystems and societies around the world. As a result, environmental sustainability has become one of humanity’s priority challenges. This study aims to use ecological multilayer material in order to reduce the impact of [...] Read more.
Climate change and resource and energy depletion are already impacting ecosystems and societies around the world. As a result, environmental sustainability has become one of humanity’s priority challenges. This study aims to use ecological multilayer material in order to reduce the impact of carbon and energy needs of heating in severe climates in which people die each year from cold. The combination of the investigated multilayer material gives a low thermal transmittance (U = 0.361 W·m−2·K−1). A simulation using the software TRNSYS was established to estimate the yearly heating and cooling needs in the building with the developed multilayer material in a semi-arid climate. The yearly energy demands for heating and cooling were compared to a normal wall with conventional bricks; 47% of energy was saved by the use of the multilayer material wall. The use of the multilayer material permits a low ratio of energy needs of 24 KWh/m2/year for cooling needs and 43 KWh/m2/year for heating. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunities for Composites in the Future Energy Systems)
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Review
Current Concepts for Cutting Metal-Based and Polymer-Based Composite Materials
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 150; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050150 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 544
Abstract
Due to the variety of properties of the composites produced, determining the choice of the appropriate cutting technique is demanding. Therefore, it is necessary to know the problems associated with cutting operations, i.e., mechanical cutting (blanking), plasma cutting plasma, water jet cutting, abrasive [...] Read more.
Due to the variety of properties of the composites produced, determining the choice of the appropriate cutting technique is demanding. Therefore, it is necessary to know the problems associated with cutting operations, i.e., mechanical cutting (blanking), plasma cutting plasma, water jet cutting, abrasive water jet cutting, laser cutting and electrical discharge machining (EDM). The criterion for choosing the right cutting technique for a specific application depends not only on the expected cutting speed and material thickness, but it is also related to the physico-mechanical properties of the material being processed. In other words, the large variety of composite properties necessitates an individual approach determining the possibility of cutting a composite material with a specific method. This paper presents the achievements gained over the last ten years in the field of non-conventional cutting of metal-based and polymer-based composite materials. The greatest attention is paid to the methods of electrical discharge machining and ultrasonic cutting. The methods of high-energy cutting and water jet cutting are also considered and discussed. Although it is well-known that plasma cutting is not widely used in cutting composites, the authors also took into account this type of cutting treatment. The volume of each chapter depends on the dissemination of a given metal-based and polymer-based composite material cutting technique. For each cutting technique, the paper presents the phenomena that have a direct impact on the quality of the resulting surface and on the formation of the most important defects encountered. Finally, the identified current knowledge gaps are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Composites: Fabrication and Applications)
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Article
Extraction and Identification of Effective Compounds from Natural Plants
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 149; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050149 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 609
Abstract
Most botanical species contain various types of bioactive compounds. This study focusses on the extraction and identification of bioactive compounds from Calicotome spinosa (Gorse), including flavones, α-linolenic acid and sugar. During the investigation of gorse flowers, leaves and bark, flavones were isolated from [...] Read more.
Most botanical species contain various types of bioactive compounds. This study focusses on the extraction and identification of bioactive compounds from Calicotome spinosa (Gorse), including flavones, α-linolenic acid and sugar. During the investigation of gorse flowers, leaves and bark, flavones were isolated from the bark and leaves. Calicotome spinosa showed a total isoflavonoid content of 1.5% from the bark of gorse and 1.3% from the leaves. To find the best conditions for flavone extraction, samples of Calicotome spinosa were extracted with different solvents (methanol, water and acetonitrile). Methanol was found to be a suitable solvent to selectively extract flavone. An unsaturated cis fatty acid (α-linolenic acid, C18:3 ∆9, 12, 15) was identified as the principal component of the triacylglycerol fraction from the flowers. Hydrolyses process conditions were used to study Gorse wood. The results indicated that the wood of gorse is not a suitable substance for making paper. The extracted bioactive compounds were analysed using NMR, GCMS, UV, TLC and Fibre Analyser techniques. The extracted compounds offered uses as antioxidants and agricultural chemicals in addition to other benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biocomposites)
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Article
Non-Destructive and Destructive Testing to Analyse the Effects of Processing Parameters on the Tensile and Flexural Properties of FFF-Printed Graphene-Enhanced PLA
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 148; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050148 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 555
Abstract
The significance of non-destructive testing (NDT) methods cannot be overstated as they help to evaluate the properties of a material without damaging/fracturing it. However, their applicability is dependent on their ability to provide reliable correlation with destructive tests such as tensile and flexural. [...] Read more.
The significance of non-destructive testing (NDT) methods cannot be overstated as they help to evaluate the properties of a material without damaging/fracturing it. However, their applicability is dependent on their ability to provide reliable correlation with destructive tests such as tensile and flexural. This correlation becomes more problematic when the material is not homogeneous, such is the case with parts manufactured using a popular additive manufacturing process termed as fused filament fabrication (FFF). This process also requires optimisation of its parameters to achieve desired results. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the effects of four different nozzle temperatures, print bed temperatures, and print speeds on FFF-printed Haydale’s Synergy Graphene Enhanced Super Tough PLA through three non-destructive (ultrasonic, hardness, strain) and two destructive (tensile, flexural) testing methods. Samples were manufactured using Anet® ET4 Pro 3D printer and evaluated as per British and International standards. Two non-destructive tests, i.e., ultrasonic and hardness have been associated with evaluating the tensile properties of the manufactured parts. These results were correlated with destructive tensile testing and showed good agreement. The NDT method of strain measurement showed a very good correlation with the destructive three-point flexural test and was able to provide a reliable evaluation of flexural properties as a function of all three processing parameters. The results presented in this work highlight the importance of NDT methods and how they can be used to evaluate different properties of a material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Graphene Composites)
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Article
Valorization of a Highly Organic Sediment: From Conventional Binders to a Geopolymer Approach
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 147; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050147 - 19 May 2022
Viewed by 544
Abstract
The objective of this research is to investigate the possible reuse of dredged sediments from the port of Cherbourg, France, as an alternative material in road engineering and as a backfill material. These dredged sediments contain high percentages of organic matter (OM), and [...] Read more.
The objective of this research is to investigate the possible reuse of dredged sediments from the port of Cherbourg, France, as an alternative material in road engineering and as a backfill material. These dredged sediments contain high percentages of organic matter (OM), and the presence of OM in the sediment, even in small amounts, can affect the engineering properties of sediments. This research was carried out in two series: the sediment was treated with traditional hydraulic binders (ordinary Portland cement (OPC), calcium sulfo-aluminate (CSA) cement, quarry sand (QS), lime, and a combination of them) in the first series, and with pozzolanic binders in the second series (ground-granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) and fly ash (FA)), along with the introduction of an activator. According to French legislation, these two pozzolanic binders (GGBS and FA) have no carbon footprint as they are industrial by-products, and therefore, the second series of this research is considered to be highly eco-friendly and economical. Sediment treated with hydraulic binders yielded a maximum value of unconfined compressive strength (UCS) of 1 MPa at 28 days. Out of eight formulations made using traditional binders, only one formulation barely met the French criteria to be used in the sub-base layer of roads. The development of geopolymer using alkali-activated GGBS and then the incorporation of 30% sediments yielded a UCS value above 2 MPa at 28, 60, 90, and 180 days. Furthermore, the addition of 5% lime and 3% granular calcium carbonate in the same mixture (geopolymer + 30% sediments) increased the UCS by up to 60% and 90%, respectively. Full article
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Article
Comparison of Polishing Systems on the Surface Roughness of Resin Based Composites Containing Different Monomers
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 146; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050146 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 476
Abstract
Changes in the organic matrix of composite resins have been proposed to improve their surface properties. However, polishing systems may perform differently in different materials. This study compared the effect of polishing systems on the surface roughness of four composite resins containing different [...] Read more.
Changes in the organic matrix of composite resins have been proposed to improve their surface properties. However, polishing systems may perform differently in different materials. This study compared the effect of polishing systems on the surface roughness of four composite resins containing different resin monomers: Admira Fusion (nanohybrid containing pure ormocer), Aura Bulkfill (nanohybrid containing Bis-GMA, UDMA), Charisma Diamond (nanohybrid containing TCD-DI-HEA) and Vittra APS (nanofilled containing UDMA). Cylinders (N = 120, n = 10) were prepared from each material and the top surface of each specimen was grounded using a diamond finishing bur. Baseline measurements of surface roughness (Ra) were recorded using a contact profilometer and the specimens of each composite were divided into three subgroups according to the polishing system: one-step, two-step, three-step. Ra measurements were recorded also after polishing. Data were analyzed using three-way ANOVA and Tukey’s test (p < 0.05). The baseline roughness of all composites was significantly reduced after polishing (p < 0.001). The two-step polishing system provided the smoothest surface for Admira Fusion (0.0770 ± 0.0171) and Charisma (0.1091 ± 0.0090), whereas for Aura and Vittra no significantly differences were found for the three polishing systems tested. The surface smoothness seems to be more material dependent than step dependent, but all tested systems provided clinically acceptable results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Composites: Biomaterials in Dental Fields, Volume II)
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Article
Improvement of Mechanical, Thermal, and Physical Behaviors of Jute/Cotton Biocomposites Reinforced by Spent Tea Leaf Particles
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 145; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050145 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 707
Abstract
Natural fibers such as jute, cotton, and bamboo composites are becoming alternative materials to synthetic fiber composites, as their use raises awareness of environmental protection. Among natural fibers, jute and cotton fibers were used in this research to fabricate six-layered composites reinforced by [...] Read more.
Natural fibers such as jute, cotton, and bamboo composites are becoming alternative materials to synthetic fiber composites, as their use raises awareness of environmental protection. Among natural fibers, jute and cotton fibers were used in this research to fabricate six-layered composites reinforced by spent tea leaves. Varying amounts (0, 5, 10, and 15 g) of spent tea leaf powder were incorporated as reinforcement with resin to improve and observe properties and determine usability. The prepared composites were investigated comparatively in terms of mechanical, microstructural, morphological, and thermal properties. As regards mechanical characterization, tensile, compression, and bending properties were tested in this research to compare the obtained data with the data available in the literature to show its practical application. The results indicated that significant improvements in mechanical properties were obtained from the composites up to a certain proportion of reinforcement. The addition of 10 g reinforcement of spent tea leaves improved tensile strength by 33.46% and compressive strength by 38.86%. In terms of microstructural, morphological, and thermal characterization, in-depth SEM, EDS, XRD, UV, FTIR, TGA, and DSC analyses were performed. The results revealed that advanced microstructural, morphological, and thermal properties were improved with a certain proportion of spent tea leaf reinforcement. Full article
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Article
Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics in Space: Life Cycle Assessment towards Improved Sustainability of Space Vehicles
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 144; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050144 - 16 May 2022
Viewed by 572
Abstract
Composite materials, specifically carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs), are used in various applications such as the automotive, aerospace, and renewable energy industries, thus increasing their global production and volume consumption and creating a subsequent increase in CFRP waste. Especially in space applications and [...] Read more.
Composite materials, specifically carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs), are used in various applications such as the automotive, aerospace, and renewable energy industries, thus increasing their global production and volume consumption and creating a subsequent increase in CFRP waste. Especially in space applications and Vega launcher construction, the use of CFRP components to replace metal envisages significant benefits in the use phase by reducing weight and fuel consumption requirements. The current and future waste management and environmental legislation, considering the actual and impending EU framework on waste management, requires all engineering materials to be properly recovered and recycled from EoL products. In this study, the potential of recycling and the subsequent environmental benefits have been assessed by investigating the EoL of CFRPs through a life cycle assessment (LCA). LCA is a valuable tool for evaluating a composite material’s environmental ecological burdens over its lifetime. Therefore, it is important to the composites industry as a material selection tool when determining the applicability of recycled composites in the design phase. Particularly, the benefits from recycling methods were systematically studied in order to assess the environmental impacts of EoL scenarios, to underline the importance and necessity for the maturity increase in recycling technologies for CFRPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Composite Structures)
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Article
Axisymmetric Contact Problems for Composite Pressure Vessels
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 143; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050143 - 14 May 2022
Viewed by 567
Abstract
The present analysis is conducted for the evaluation of contact pressures of axisymmetric shells made of laminated composites or functionally graded materials. This class of problems is usually called the Signorini–Fichera problem (unilateral constraints) and can be solved as the lower-bound problem. The [...] Read more.
The present analysis is conducted for the evaluation of contact pressures of axisymmetric shells made of laminated composites or functionally graded materials. This class of problems is usually called the Signorini–Fichera problem (unilateral constraints) and can be solved as the lower-bound problem. The numerical solution of this problem is proposed both for symmetric and unsymmetric shell configurations. The first-ply-failure of such structures is considered. It is demonstrated that the failure occurs at the end of the contact area corresponding to the appearance of stress concentration of radial concentrated forces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Journal of Composites Science in 2022)
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Article
Obtaining the Dimensions and Orientation of 2D Rectangular Flakes from Sectioning Experiments in Flake Composites
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 142; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050142 - 13 May 2022
Viewed by 529
Abstract
Recently, we developed and reported the statistical validity of two methods for determining the planar aspect ratios of two-dimensional (2D) rectangular flakes in composites from the statistics of intersection lengths: one method is based on the maximum intersection length, and the other on [...] Read more.
Recently, we developed and reported the statistical validity of two methods for determining the planar aspect ratios of two-dimensional (2D) rectangular flakes in composites from the statistics of intersection lengths: one method is based on the maximum intersection length, and the other on the average intersection length. In this work, we show that these methods are valid and robust not only for flakes having isotropic, random in-plane orientations, but for the more general situations of planar orientations ranging from unidirectional (misalignment angle ϵ=0), to partially aligned (0<ϵ<π/2), to flakes of isotropic, random-in-plane orientations (ϵ=π/2). We prove, by Monte Carlo simulations and by numerical sectioning experiments, the validity of the proposed methods for characterizing the extent of the partial alignment (the misalignment angle ϵ) of 2D rectangular flakes in composites, based again on the statistics of the intersection lengths; this information can be obtained from cross-sections of composite samples used in optical or electron microscopy or using tomographic imaging techniques. The performance of these techniques was tested using blind experiments in numerically sectioned composites which contained up to 106 individual flakes, and was found to be very good for a wide range of flake aspect ratios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Journal of Composites Science in 2022)
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Communication
See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me: A Contextual Overview of Conductive Polymer Composites as Synthetic Human Skin
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 141; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050141 - 12 May 2022
Viewed by 617
Abstract
The fields of polymer science, conductive composites, materials engineering, robotics, and human perception intersect at the development and application of synthetic human skin. To be accepted by human users, artificial human skin must meet several requirement benchmarks. Synthetic human skin must look realistic, [...] Read more.
The fields of polymer science, conductive composites, materials engineering, robotics, and human perception intersect at the development and application of synthetic human skin. To be accepted by human users, artificial human skin must meet several requirement benchmarks. Synthetic human skin must look realistic, but not be eerie or creepy, upsetting those using or interacting with the material. Synthetic skin must feel like human skin, including mechanical response, thermal conductivity, and tactile properties. Realistic synthetic human skin must be electrically conductive, so that the user may experience accurate sensations of touch and feel. Finally, synthetic human skin should possess some degree of self-healing behavior. This review provides a brief description of advances in these disparate aspects of synthetic skin science, from the perspective of a practicing conductive polymer composite scientist and engineer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Conductive Polymer Composites)
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Article
Development of an Analytical Model to Predict Stress–Strain Curves of Short Fiber-Reinforced Polymers with Six Independent Parameters
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 140; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050140 - 11 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1939
Abstract
Mechanical properties of fiber-reinforced polymers are sensitive to environmental influences due to the presence of the polymer matrix but inhomogeneous and anisotropic due to the presence of the fibers. Hence, structural analysis with mechanical properties as a function of loading, environment, design, and [...] Read more.
Mechanical properties of fiber-reinforced polymers are sensitive to environmental influences due to the presence of the polymer matrix but inhomogeneous and anisotropic due to the presence of the fibers. Hence, structural analysis with mechanical properties as a function of loading, environment, design, and material condition produces more precise, reliable, and economic structures. In the present study, an analytical model is developed that can predict engineering values as well as non-linear stress–strain curves as a function of six independent parameters for short fiber-reinforced polymers manufactured by injection molding. These parameters are the strain, temperature, humidity, fiber content, fiber orientation, and thickness of the specimen. A three-point test matrix for each independent parameter is used to obtain experimental data. To insert the effect of in-homogenous and anisotropic distribution of fibers in the analytical model, microCT analysis is done. Similarly, dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) is done to insert the viscoelastic effect of the material. The least mean square regression method is used to predict empirical formulas. The standard error of regression for the fitting of the model with experimental stress–strain curves is closely controlled below 2% of the stress range. This study provides user-specific material data for simulations with specific material, loading, and environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Characterization and Modelling of Composites, Volume II)
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Article
Degradation and Breakdown of Polymer/Graphene Composites under Strong Electric Field
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 139; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050139 - 10 May 2022
Viewed by 549
Abstract
In this work, we study the effect of strong electric fields on a polymer/graphene composite and the resulting morphology upon its dielectric breakdown. Our model system was produced by compounding up to 0.25 wt % graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) into poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) [...] Read more.
In this work, we study the effect of strong electric fields on a polymer/graphene composite and the resulting morphology upon its dielectric breakdown. Our model system was produced by compounding up to 0.25 wt % graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) into poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) (EVA), which is a soft polymer with low melt viscosity. A strong electric field of up to 400 Vrms/mm was applied to the EVA/GNP composite in the melt. The sample’s resistance over the electric field application was simultaneously measured. Despite the low GNP loading, which was below the theoretical percolation threshold, the electric conductivity of the composite during electric field application dramatically increased to >10−6 S/cm over 5 min of electric field application before reaching the current limit of the experimental apparatus. Conductivity growth follows the same scaling relationship of the theoretical model that predicts the rotation and translation time of GNPs in a polymer melt as a function of electric field strength. Since no significant GNP alignment in the composite was observed under transmission electron microscopy (TEM), we hypothesized that the increase in electrical conductivity was due to local electrical treeing of the polymer matrix, which eventually leads to dielectric breakdown of the composite. Electrical treeing is likely initiated by local GNP agglomerates and propagated through conductive channels formed during progressive dielectric breakdown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Composites: Fabrication and Applications)
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Article
Experimental Analysis of Residual Stresses in CFRPs through Hole-Drilling Method: The Role of Stacking Sequence, Thickness, and Defects
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 138; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050138 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs) gained high interest in industrial applications because of their excellent strength and low specific weight. The stacking sequence of the unidirectional plies forming a CFRP laminate, and their thicknesses, primarily determine the mechanical performance. However, during manufacturing, defects, [...] Read more.
Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRPs) gained high interest in industrial applications because of their excellent strength and low specific weight. The stacking sequence of the unidirectional plies forming a CFRP laminate, and their thicknesses, primarily determine the mechanical performance. However, during manufacturing, defects, e.g., pores and residual stresses, are induced, both affecting the mechanical properties. The objective of the present work is to accurately measure residual stresses in CFRPs as well as to investigate the effects of stacking sequence, overall laminate thickness, and the presence of pores on the residual stress state. Residual stresses were measured through the incremental hole-drilling method (HDM). Adequate procedures have been applied to evaluate the residual stresses for orthotropic materials, including calculating the calibration coefficients through finite element analysis (FEA) based on stacking sequence, laminate thickness and mechanical properties. Using optical microscopy (OM) and computed tomography (CT), profound insights into the cross-sectional and three-dimensional microstructure, e.g., location and shape of process-induced pores, were obtained. This microstructural information allowed for a comprehensive understanding of the experimentally determined strain and stress results, particularly at the transition zone between the individual plies. The effect of pores on residual stresses was investigated by considering pores to calculate the calibration coefficients at a depth of 0.06 mm to 0.12 mm in the model and utilizing these results for residual stress evaluation. A maximum difference of 46% in stress between defect-free and porous material sample conditions was observed at a hole depth of 0.65 mm. The significance of employing correctly calculated coefficients for the residual stress evaluation is highlighted by mechanical validation tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fiber Composites, Volume II)
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Article
The Tensile Behaviour of Unaged and Hygrothermally Aged Asymmetric Helicoidally Stacked CFRP Composites
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 137; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050137 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 553
Abstract
This paper concerns the effects of hygrothermal ageing on the tensile behaviour of assymetric helicoidally stacked carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) composites. MR70 12P carbon fibre epoxy prepreg sheets were manufactured into laminated composites comprising constant inter-ply pitch angles ranging from 0° [...] Read more.
This paper concerns the effects of hygrothermal ageing on the tensile behaviour of assymetric helicoidally stacked carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) composites. MR70 12P carbon fibre epoxy prepreg sheets were manufactured into laminated composites comprising constant inter-ply pitch angles ranging from 0° to 30°. The composites were tested in tension (according to BS ISO 527-5:2009) as either dry unaged specimens or following hygrothermal ageing in seawater at the constant temperatures of 40 °C and 60 °C for 2000 h. Both tensile modulus and tensile strength are found to be detrimentally affected by hygrothermal ageing, and the extent to which ageing affects these properties is a function of the inter-ply pitch angle. Higher hygrothermal ageing temperatures are found to decrease the tensile modulus and strength ratios of asymmetric helicoidally stacked composites when compared against UD composites subjected to the same conditions and the strength and stiffness ratios of all composites when compared against unaged equivalents. Significantly, therefore, we show that the degradation of helicoidal composite properties under hygrothermal conditions, in general, occurs more rapidly than it does in UD composites, and thus the long-term use of helicoidal composites in immersed environments should take into account these differences. A second order relationship is observed for the mechanical properties of the composites when plotted against their inter-ply helicoidal pitch angles. As such, a mixtures model was modified to incorporate the observed effects of laminate inter-ply pitch angle and used to predict the tensile modulus of unaged composites. The predictions are within one standard deviation of the experimental arithmetic mean; however, the model can only be used for dry helicoidal composites, as ageing alters the microstructures in an irregular manner between the different sample sets. The development of this mixture model is useful as it provides a justifiably simple route to predicting the properties of dry helicoidal structures, albeit within the bounds of specific interply-pitch angles. Finite element analyses (Hashin failure) elucidate the plies that are most likely responsible for composite failure. The validity of these numerical predictions is evidenced by observing primary fracture paths in the composites. Finally, hygrothermal ageing is found to enable greater in-plane (mode III) twisting of individual laminates under loading, with certain laminate angles being more prone to twisting than others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geometrical and Structural Design of Load Bearing Composites)
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Article
Methotrexate-Transferrin-Functionalized Fe(Salen)-Polypyrrole Nanocomposites for Targeted Photo-/Magneto-Thermal Cancer Treatments
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 136; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050136 - 08 May 2022
Viewed by 584
Abstract
Designing multi-modal topical drug delivery nanocarriers using nano-hybrid particles has received significant interest in targeted cancer therapy. In this study, magnetic Fe(salen)-conducting copolymer nanocomposites based on our previous iron salt-free synthesis method are surface-functionalized with methotrexate and transferrin proteins. The nano-hybrids show near-infrared-/magnetic [...] Read more.
Designing multi-modal topical drug delivery nanocarriers using nano-hybrid particles has received significant interest in targeted cancer therapy. In this study, magnetic Fe(salen)-conducting copolymer nanocomposites based on our previous iron salt-free synthesis method are surface-functionalized with methotrexate and transferrin proteins. The nano-hybrids show near-infrared-/magnetic field-responsive hyperthermal activity in vitro, which can be extraordinarily useful in magnetically guidable local cancer targeting as a versatile multi-modal therapeutic drug delivery system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-Abio Nanocomposites for Bio-Applications)
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Communication
The Benefit of the Glassy State of Reinforcing Particles for the Densification of Aluminum Matrix Composites
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 135; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050135 - 07 May 2022
Viewed by 549
Abstract
In metallic glass-reinforced metal matrix composites, the glassy phase can serve a dual purpose: (i) it can behave as soft binder and porosity remover during consolidation; and (ii) it can act as the hard reinforcing phase after densification. The present work aimed to [...] Read more.
In metallic glass-reinforced metal matrix composites, the glassy phase can serve a dual purpose: (i) it can behave as soft binder and porosity remover during consolidation; and (ii) it can act as the hard reinforcing phase after densification. The present work aimed to demonstrate the benefit of the glassy reinforcing particles for the densification of aluminum matrix composites. The consolidation behavior of Al–50 vol.% Fe-based alloy mixtures prepared using a glassy Fe66Cr10Nb5B19 alloy powder (Tg = 521 °C, Tx = 573 °C) or a crystalline Fe62Cr10Nb12B16 alloy powder was studied under spark plasma sintering (SPS) and hot pressing (HP) conditions. The powders were consolidated by heating above the glass transition temperature of the glassy alloy (up to 540 °C in SPS and 570 °C in HP). When the coarse aluminum powder was used, the reinforcing particles formed chains within the microstructure. In composites formed from the fine Al powder, the particles of the Fe-based alloy were separated from each other by the metallic matrix, and the tendency to form agglomerates was reduced. The glassy state of the alloy was shown to be beneficial for densification, as the metallic glass acted as a soft binder. The densification enhancement effect was more pronounced in the case of reinforcing particles forming chains. The hardness of the Al–50 vol.% glassy Fe66Cr10Nb5B19 composites obtained by SPS was twice the hardness of the unreinforced sintered aluminum (110 HV1 versus 45 HV1). Full article
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Project Report
Mechanochemical Characterisation of Calcined Impure Kaolinitic Clay as a Composite Binder in Cementitious Mortars
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 134; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050134 - 06 May 2022
Viewed by 611
Abstract
The availability of some supplementary cementitious materials, especially fly ash, is of imminent concern in Europe due to the projected closure of several coal-fired power generation plants. Pure kaolinitic clays, which arguably have the potential to replace fly ash, are also scarce and [...] Read more.
The availability of some supplementary cementitious materials, especially fly ash, is of imminent concern in Europe due to the projected closure of several coal-fired power generation plants. Pure kaolinitic clays, which arguably have the potential to replace fly ash, are also scarce and expensive due to their use in other industrial applications. This paper examines the potential utilisation of low-grade kaolinitic clays for construction purposes. The clay sample was heat-treated at a temperature of 800 °C and evenly blended with Portland cement in substitutions of 10–30% by weight. The physical, chemical, mineralogical and mechanical characteristics of the blended calcined clay cement were determined. The Frattini test proved the pozzolanic potential of the calcined impure clay, as a plot of its CaO and OH was found below the lime solubility curve. The 28 days compressive strengths trailed the reference cement by 5.1%, 12.3% and 21.7%, respectively, at all replacement levels. The optimum replacement level between the three blends was found to be 20 wt.%. Full article
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Article
Spiderweb Cellular Structures Manufactured via Additive Layer Manufacturing for Aerospace Application
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 133; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050133 - 01 May 2022
Viewed by 693
Abstract
With increasing the energy costs and aiming for fossil-free Europe, cellular structures could provide a cost-effective tool for saving fuel consumption in aircraft. To achieve this goal, a cellular structure topology is a rapidly growing area of research facilitated by developments in additive [...] Read more.
With increasing the energy costs and aiming for fossil-free Europe, cellular structures could provide a cost-effective tool for saving fuel consumption in aircraft. To achieve this goal, a cellular structure topology is a rapidly growing area of research facilitated by developments in additive layer manufacturing. These low-density structures are particularly promising for their aerospace applications. In this paper, four cellular structure topologies are developed to serve as a vibration damper in small electric aircraft motor, we have compared their performance with the original motor holder in the aircraft. This paper introduces the roadmap of scaffolding concept design and provides a novel concept in vibration damping. Based on the FEA simulation, aluminium 6061T spiderweb-inspired lattices (weight 0.3473 g and porosity 84%) have proven to have the lowest natural resonance and highest yield strength to weight ratio compared to other scaffolding concepts. Full article
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Review
Thermoplastic Composite Materials Approach for More Circular Components: From Monomer to In Situ Polymerization, a Review
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 132; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050132 - 29 Apr 2022
Viewed by 650
Abstract
To move toward eco-sustainable and circular composites, one of the most effective solutions is to create thermoplastic composites. The strong commitment of world organizations in the field of safeguarding the planet has directed the research of these materials toward production processes with a [...] Read more.
To move toward eco-sustainable and circular composites, one of the most effective solutions is to create thermoplastic composites. The strong commitment of world organizations in the field of safeguarding the planet has directed the research of these materials toward production processes with a lower environmental impact and a strong propensity to recycle the polymeric part. Under its chemical properties, Nylon 6 is the polymer that best satisfies this specific trade-off. The most common production processes that use a thermosetting matrix are described. Subsequently, the work aimed at investigating the use of thermoplastics in the same processes to obtain comparable performances with the materials that are currently used. Particular attention was given to the in situ anionic polymerization process of Nylon 6, starting from the ε-caprolactam monomer. The dependencies of the process parameters, such as temperature, time, pressure, humidity, and concentration of initiators and activators, were therefore investigated with reference to the vacuum infusion technique, currently optimized only to produce thermosetting matrix composites, but promising for the realization of thermoplastic matrix composite; this is the reason why we chose to focus our attention on the vacuum infusion. Finally, three production processes of the polymeric matrix and glass fiber composites were compared in terms of carbon footprint and cumulative energy demand (CED) through life-cycle assessment (LCA). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Composites: Fabrication and Applications)
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Article
Influence of Matrix Strength on Bridging Performance of Fiber-Reinforced Cementitious Composite with Bundled Aramid Fiber
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 131; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050131 - 28 Apr 2022
Viewed by 592
Abstract
The bundled aramid fiber has good bond properties in the cementitious matrix, and is expected to have high bridging performance in the fiber-reinforced cementitious composite (FRCC). To investigate the influence of matrix strength on the bridging performance of FRCC with the bundled aramid [...] Read more.
The bundled aramid fiber has good bond properties in the cementitious matrix, and is expected to have high bridging performance in the fiber-reinforced cementitious composite (FRCC). To investigate the influence of matrix strength on the bridging performance of FRCC with the bundled aramid fiber, the uniaxial tension test of FRCC, the pullout test for an individual fiber, and the calculation of bridging law are conducted with the main parameters of matrix strength and fiber volume fraction. From the test results, the maximum tensile load of FRCC and the maximum pullout load of an individual fiber increase as the matrix strength also increases. The calculation result of the bridging law considering the effect of matrix strength expresses the bridging performance of the bundled aramid fiber well. The calculation result also shows that the bridging strength has a linear relationship up to a compressive strength of around 50 MPa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Performance Fiber-Reinforced Cementitious Composites)
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Article
All-Cellulose Composites Properties from Pre- and Post-Consumer Denim Wastes: Comparative Study
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 130; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050130 - 28 Apr 2022
Viewed by 576
Abstract
This study reports the recycling of discarded denim textiles by the production of all-cellulose composites (ACCs). Discarded denim fabrics were shredded into fibers and then made into nonwoven fabrics by carding and needle punching. The produced nonwoven fabrics were converted to ACCs by [...] Read more.
This study reports the recycling of discarded denim textiles by the production of all-cellulose composites (ACCs). Discarded denim fabrics were shredded into fibers and then made into nonwoven fabrics by carding and needle punching. The produced nonwoven fabrics were converted to ACCs by one-step and two-step methods using an ionic liquid (IL), 1-butyl-3-methyl imidazolium acetate ([BMIM][Ac]). In this study, the effect of different ACC manufacturing methods, denim fabrics with different contents (a 100% cotton denim (CO) and a blend material (cotton, poly-ester and elastane (BCO)) and reusing of IL as a recycled cellulose solvent on the mechanical pro-perties of the formed ACCs were investigated. The ACCs were characterized according to their tensile and impact properties, as well as their void content. Microscopic analysis was carried out to study the morphology of a cross-section of the formed composites. The choice of the one-step method with recycled IL, pure IL or with a blend material (BCO) had no influence on the tensile properties. Instead, the result showed that the two-step method, with and without DMSO, will influence the E-modulus but not the tensile strength. Regarding the impact properties of the samples, the only factor likely to influence the impact energy was the one-step method with CO and BCO. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Biocomposites)
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Review
Poly(methyl methacrylate) Nanocomposite Foams Reinforced with Carbon and Inorganic Nanoparticles—State-of-the-Art
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 129; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050129 - 28 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 600
Abstract
Polymeric nanocomposite foams have attracted increasing research attention for technical reasons. Poly(methyl methacrylate) is a remarkable and viable thermoplastic polymer. This review highlights some indispensable aspects of poly(methyl methacrylate) nanocomposite foams with nanocarbon nanofillers (carbon nanotube, graphene, etc.) and inorganic nanoparticles (nanoclay, polyhedral [...] Read more.
Polymeric nanocomposite foams have attracted increasing research attention for technical reasons. Poly(methyl methacrylate) is a remarkable and viable thermoplastic polymer. This review highlights some indispensable aspects of poly(methyl methacrylate) nanocomposite foams with nanocarbon nanofillers (carbon nanotube, graphene, etc.) and inorganic nanoparticles (nanoclay, polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane, silica, etc.). The design and physical properties of poly(methyl methacrylate) nanocomposite foams have been deliberated. It has been observed that processing strategies, nanofiller dispersion, and interfacial interactions in poly(methyl methacrylate)–nanofiller have been found essential to produce high-performance nanocellular foams. The emergent application areas of the poly(methyl methacrylate) nanocomposite foams are electromagnetic interference shielding, sensors, and supercapacitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Journal of Composites Science in 2022)
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Article
Void Content Reduction in 3D Printed Glass Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites through Temperature and Pressure Consolidation
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 128; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050128 - 28 Apr 2022
Viewed by 695
Abstract
To improve the properties of additively manufactured parts to be used in high-end applications, intrinsic defects occurring during the printing process need to be minimized. Defects such as void can significantly degrade the mechanical properties of the resulted parts. The presence of void [...] Read more.
To improve the properties of additively manufactured parts to be used in high-end applications, intrinsic defects occurring during the printing process need to be minimized. Defects such as void can significantly degrade the mechanical properties of the resulted parts. The presence of void is more evident in composite printed parts due to the inhomogeneity of the specimen. In this study, composite rectangular coupons printed with a Markforged Mark Two printer were manufactured with different fiber orientations and stacking sequences. A void content reduction/consolidation process, consisting of applying pressure at different temperature levels, was developed and implemented to remove the voids in form of air bubbles trapped in the specimen. A two-part mold with female and male components with the same dimensions as the rectangular specimen was designed and machined to be used in a hot press process. The success of the approach was evaluated by calculating the density of the specimen pre- and post-consolidation. The void content reduction results were highly dependent on fiber orientation; however, the density increased for all tested specimens, confirming the reduction in porosity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Additive Manufacturing of Composites and Nanocomposites)
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Article
Experimental Analysis of Plastic-Based Composites Made by Composite Plastic Manufacturing
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 127; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050127 - 26 Apr 2022
Viewed by 871
Abstract
The significance of composites cannot be overstated in the manufacturing sector due to their unique properties and high strength-to-weight ratio. The use of thermoplastics for composites manufacturing is also gaining attention due to their availability, ease of operation, and affordability. However, the current [...] Read more.
The significance of composites cannot be overstated in the manufacturing sector due to their unique properties and high strength-to-weight ratio. The use of thermoplastics for composites manufacturing is also gaining attention due to their availability, ease of operation, and affordability. However, the current methods for plastic-based composites are limited due to the requirements of long curing times and pre- and post-treatment, thereby resulting in longer lead times for the desired product. These methods also limit the freedom to operate with different forms of materials. Therefore, a new manufacturing process for plastic-based composites is required to overcome such limitations. This research presents a new manufacturing process to produce high-quality plastic-based composites with bespoke properties for engineering applications. The process is referred to as Composite Plastic Manufacturing (CPM) and is based on the principle of fused filament fabrication (FFF) equipped with a heat chamber. The process integrates two material extrusion additive manufacturing technologies, i.e., filament and syringe extrusion. The paper presents the principle of the process, both in theory and in practice, along with the methodology and materials used to manufacture plastic composites. Various composites have been manufactured using the CPM process with thermally activated materials and tested according to British and International standards. Polylactic Acid (PLA) has been interlaced with different thermally activated materials such as graphene-carbon hybrid paste, heat cure epoxy paste, and graphene epoxy paste. The process is validated through a comparative experimental analysis involving tests such as ultrasonic, tensile, microstructural, and hardness to demonstrate its capabilities. The results have been compared with commercially available materials (PLA and Graphene-enhanced PLA) as well as literature to establish the superiority of the CPM process. The CPM composites showed an increase of up to 10.4% in their tensile strength (54 MPa) and 8% in their hardness values (81 HD) when compared to commercially available PLA material. The composites manufactured by CPM have also shown strong bonding between the layers of PLA and thermally activated materials; thus, highlighting the effectiveness of the process. Furthermore, the composites showed a significant increase of up to 29.8% in their tensile strength and 24.6% in their hardness values when compared to commercially available Graphene-enhanced PLA material. The results show that the CPM process is capable of manufacturing superior quality plastic composites and can be used to produce products with bespoke properties. Full article
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Article
Molecular Dynamics Study of Melting Behavior of Planar Stacked Ti–Al Core–Shell Nanoparticles
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 126; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050126 - 26 Apr 2022
Viewed by 650
Abstract
Selective laser sintering (SLS) is one of the most commonly used methods in additive manufacturing, due to its high prototyping speed and applicability to various materials. In the present work, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed to study the thermodynamic behaviors of the [...] Read more.
Selective laser sintering (SLS) is one of the most commonly used methods in additive manufacturing, due to its high prototyping speed and applicability to various materials. In the present work, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed to study the thermodynamic behaviors of the planar stacked nanoparticles (NPs) model and explore the potential capability of the SLS process with nano-sized metal powders in the zero-gravity space environment. A multi-particle model of titanium–aluminum (Ti–Al) core–shell NP with a particle radius of 50 Å was constructed to investigate the characteristics of the melted pattern during sintering. Two patterns with different spatial densities were considered to study the influence of particle stacking on the melting process. Various core volume fractions and heating rates were examined to investigate their effects on the quality of the final sintered product. The stacked-NPs models with core volume fractions (CVFs) of 3%, 12%, and 30% were linearly heated up to 1100 K from room temperature (298 K) with heating rates of 0.04, 0.2, 0.5, and 1.0 K ps−1. The initial fusion temperature and final sintering temperature for each stacking pattern were obtained via the validation from the radial distribution function, mean squared displacement, and the radius of the gyration analysis. The 30% CVF yields the largest neck size before the melting point, while beyond the melting point, a larger core helps delay the formation of the fully-melted products. It is observed that using the close-packed stacked-NPs model under a slow heating rate (long melting duration) would help form a stable, completely sintered product with a relatively low final sintering temperature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Composites)
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Article
Nonlocal Free Vibrations of Metallic FGM Beams
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 125; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050125 - 25 Apr 2022
Viewed by 592
Abstract
This work aims to analyse the free-vibration response of functionally graded, simply supported beams with different gradient directions, taking into account nonlocal effects. To this purpose, the first-order shear deformation theory and the nonlocal elasticity theory of Eringen are used, in order to [...] Read more.
This work aims to analyse the free-vibration response of functionally graded, simply supported beams with different gradient directions, taking into account nonlocal effects. To this purpose, the first-order shear deformation theory and the nonlocal elasticity theory of Eringen are used, in order to assess the influence of size dependency effects on the free-vibration responses of those beams. The influence of other factors such as the aspect ratio of the beams and the evolution of the constituents’ mixture through the beam thickness and along its length is also considered. In this last case, a mixture distribution is proposed, accounting for the boundary conditions’ characteristics. The finite element model is first verified against existing alternative solutions, to assess and illustrate its performance. Based on the conclusions achieved, a set of parametric studies is then developed. The results are discussed considering the material distribution profiles, and conclusions are drawn with respect to their relative performance under the analysed conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Composites)
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Article
A Facile In Situ Synthesis of Resorcinol-Mediated Silver Nanoparticles and the Fabrication of Agar-Based Functional Nanocomposite Films
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 124; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050124 - 24 Apr 2022
Viewed by 614
Abstract
The in situ synthesis of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) was performed using resorcinol and agar to produce agar-based antioxidant and antimicrobial films. AgNPs were regularly dispersed on the film matrix, and their presence improved the thermal stability of films. Additionally, the addition of AgNPs [...] Read more.
The in situ synthesis of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) was performed using resorcinol and agar to produce agar-based antioxidant and antimicrobial films. AgNPs were regularly dispersed on the film matrix, and their presence improved the thermal stability of films. Additionally, the addition of AgNPs slightly increased the agar-based film’s tensile strength (~10%), hydrophobicity (~40%), and water vapor barrier properties (~20%) at 1.5 wt% of AgNP concentration. The resorcinol also imparted UV-barrier and antioxidant activity to the agar-based film. In particular, the agar-based film containing a higher quantity of AgNPs (>1.0 wt%) was highly effective against the foodborne pathogenic bacteria L. monocytogenes and E. coli. Therefore, agar-based composite films with improved physicochemical and functional properties may be promising for active packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Composites)
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Article
A Thermic Effect on Degradation Kinetics of Sugar Cane Bagasse Polypropylene Composites
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 123; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050123 - 24 Apr 2022
Viewed by 736
Abstract
In this study, thermal degradation mechanisms and the kinetics of PP (Polypropylene) composites containing alkali and saline treated SC (Sugar cane bagasse) have been evaluated using a non-isothermal thermogravimetric analysis under consistent nitrogen atmosphere. The study indicates dynamics of kinetics that need to [...] Read more.
In this study, thermal degradation mechanisms and the kinetics of PP (Polypropylene) composites containing alkali and saline treated SC (Sugar cane bagasse) have been evaluated using a non-isothermal thermogravimetric analysis under consistent nitrogen atmosphere. The study indicates dynamics of kinetics that need to be considered should the composites be applied in high temperature applications. NaOH treated composites revealed a reduced fiber size compared to the other composites. The presence of SC generally reduced the functional group intensities of FTIR peaks, however some peaks re-emerged after the treatments. The composites indicated higher thermal stability and char content than the pristine polymer. In fact, NaOH treated composite is more thermally stable, while the saline is the least stable of the rest. Well known reliable degradation kinetics methods were employed in order to unpack thermal degradation behavior and possible metaphors. Flynn–Wall–Ozawa (FWO) and Kissinger–Akahira–Sunose (KAS) thermal degradation kinetic models are in agreement that the presence of both SC and those in the PP matrix that have been treated lead to increased activation energy values with the competing reactions in the degradation process. Nonetheless, the linear relation is not absolutely perfect and the competing reactions seem complex at lower temperatures as there are overlying inconsistencies in activation energies. Interestingly, bagasse indicated some effect on the mechanism that included the hindering of free radicals that emanated from the first cleavage of PP. Full article
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Article
Blending for Achieving Theoretical Mechanical and Electrical Property Enhancement in Polyacrylonitrile/SWNT Materials
J. Compos. Sci. 2022, 6(5), 122; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcs6050122 - 22 Apr 2022
Viewed by 600
Abstract
Filtration based processing of nanotube and polymer-nanotube dispersions is used to create polymer and nano-filler hybrid materials. The composite morphology consists of two layers: (1) a region where polymer chains have direct matrix interaction with the nano-fillers and (2) a nano-filler rich region [...] Read more.
Filtration based processing of nanotube and polymer-nanotube dispersions is used to create polymer and nano-filler hybrid materials. The composite morphology consists of two layers: (1) a region where polymer chains have direct matrix interaction with the nano-fillers and (2) a nano-filler rich region excluded from matrix interactions. The experimental work here demonstrates the processing of this hybrid material using polyacrylonitrile (PAN) and single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNT) at various PAN/SWNT weight concentrations. Mechanical analyses were performed to evaluate effective contributions from the SWNT in each of the defined layers. The region of high matrix-filler interactions exhibits blending behavior with material properties following suit. As a result, mechanical performance is consistent and begins to exceed theoretical predictions derived from Halpin–Tsai calculations. Tensile strength and modulus reached values as high as 60 MPa and 7.7 GPa, respectively, surpassing the performance of neat nano-filler (36 MPa, 3.9 GPa) and neat polymer matrix (44 MPa, 2.0 GPa) films. Additionally, the measurement of electrical properties shows that the blended polymer-SWNT region exhibits conductivity comparable to the filler. The results of this work suggest that blending polymers and nano-fillers is possible and may facilitate the production of materials with comparatively high mechanical performance and electrical conductivities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Conductive Polymer Composites)
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